HMS Mons (1915)

HMS Mons (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Second then Eleventh then Third Flotillas of the Grand Fleet from August 1915 to March 1918, fighting at Jutland, then on the Coast of Ireland station for the rest of the war.

The Mons was an Admiralty type repeat M class destroyer ordered under the First War Programme of September 1914. She was laid down on 30 December 1914, launched on 1 May 1915 and completed on July 1915.


In August 1915 the Mons was part of the Second Flotilla of the Grand Fleet, a temporary assignment until enough members of her class were completed to allow the formation of the Eleventh Flotilla.

From September 1915 to February 1918 the Mons was part of the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet. When she joined the flotilla she was equipped as a mine sweeper.


In January 1916 she was one of fifteen repeat M class destroyers that formed the Eleventh Flotilla at Cromarty, along with the flotilla leader Kempenfelt and the light cruiser Castor.

On 18 March the Mons and Mounsey were delayed at Glasgow as the North Channel (between Scotland and Northern Ireland) was closed to all traffic because of a report of submarine activity. Later in the day they were given permission to travel through the North Channel to return to the Grand Fleet.


The flotilla contained fourteen Repeat M class destroyers at Jutland. On the eve of battle the flotilla was split, with one division at Scapa Flow and nine destroyers with the 2nd Battle Squadron at Cromarty. The Mons was one of the four destroyers at Scapa Flow. The part of the flotilla at Scapa put to sea with Admiral Jellicoe and the main body of the Grand Fleet by 10.30pm on 30 May. The part of the flotilla at Cromarty was also soon at sea, and joined the main body of the fleet at 2pm on 31 May.

The two main fleets finally came together at about 6.30pm on 31 May. By this point the battleships of the German High Seas Fleet were heading north, while the battleships of the Grand Fleet were forming a line running roughly east to west in front of them. For a few minutes the British were able to concentrate their fire on the leading ships of the German line, but the Germans then carried out their famous sixteen point turn, and within a few minutes were heading away south into the North Sea mist. However Admiral Scheer then mis-judged the British movements, and turned back east in the hope that he could pass behind the main British force. Just after 7pm the Germans found themselves steaming straight towards Jelicoe’s battleships, and by 7.15 the bulk of the Grand Fleet was finally able to open fire on the Germans. Once again Scheer was forced to reverse course. During this phase of the battle the destroyer flotillas struggled to keep up with the fast moving battleships and rather disappear from the narrative.

Jellicoe now couldn’t be sure which way the Germans had gone and struggled to make firm contact with Scheer during the night. However the fighting didn’t end. Part of the 11th flotilla was now on the port side of Jellicoe’s flagship, with the flotilla cruiser Castor. They spotted smoke to the W.N.W. and discovered twelve German destroyers apparently preparing to attack Beatty’s battlecruisers. The 11th Flotilla and the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron forced the German destroyers away, and the Grand Fleet made contact with the Germans for the third time. Once again the Germans turned away under heavy fire, and by 8.35pm had disappeared into the mist once again. 

Jellicoe was unwilling to risk a night battle, and at 9.17 ordered the fleet into its night cruising formation. The battleships formed up into lines in their divisions, with the destroyers following behind. The entire formation began to move south in an attempt to keep between the Germans and their home bases. By 10pm the destroyer flotillas were in line, with the 12th Flotilla at the eastern (left) end of the line, then the combined 9th and 10th Flotillas, 13th Flotilla, 4th Flotilla and finally the 11th Flotilla at the western (right) end of the line.

The fighting had ended with the Germans sailing south, just to the west of the Grand Fleet. Admiral Scheer’s plan was to try and turn east and cut behind the Grand Fleet, to reach Horn Reefs and a safe route home. His leading cruisers were sent ahead to try and find the British, and soon after 9.30 then ran into the 11th Flotilla, which was now at the back-right corner of the Grand Fleet. They weren’t at all sure who was approaching them, and so while some of the flotilla fired torpedoes, most of the destroyers believed these were British ships.


The Mons took part in Operation BB (14-24 June 1917), a large scale attempt to use destroyers and submarines together to hunt German U-boats that were expected to be passing around the northern coast of Scotland. Four flotilla leaders, 49 destroyers and 17 submarines were involved. The idea was that the destroyers would force the German U-boats to submerge to cross their patrol areas. The U-boats would then be on the surface when they entered the areas being patrolled by British submarines. During this operation 19 U-boats passed through the area and 5 operated on the route between Bergen and Lerwick. The British reported 11 attacks on submarines, but the nearest they came to a success was when a torpedo from K.1 hit U.95 but failed to explode. The Mons was operating in Area B, to the west of the Shetlands. Only one U-boat was sighted in this area. On 23 June the Mons spotted a conning tower five miles away. The Mons got to within 4,000 yards before the submarine dived, and although she dropped a depth charge in the area the submarine got away.


In March 1918 the Mons was part of the newly formed Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.

From April 1918 to December 1918 the Mons served with the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Northern Division of the Coast of Ireland Station, based at Buncrana. This flotilla was mainly used to carry out anti-submarine patrols and for escort duties.

On 22 August the Mons damaged the mooring cable of SS Minnedora by passing through the Musgrave channel (Belfast) at excessive speed.

On 7 September 1918 the Mons and Ossory collided at Rathmullen (just to the west of Londonderry/ Derry).

The Mons was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.

Post War

In November 1919 she was in the hands of a care and maintenance party in the Devonport reserve. She was sold for scrap in November 1921.

Service Record
July 1915: Detached
August 1915: 2nd Destroyer Flotilla
September 1915-February 1918: 11th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
March 1918: 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
April-December 1918: 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, Northern Division Coast of Ireland, Buncrana

Displacement (standard)

1,025t (Admiralty design)
985t (Thornycroft)
895t (Yarrow)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

34 knots


3-shaft Brown-Curtis or Parsons turbines
3 Yarrow boilers




273ft 4in (Admiralty)
274ft 3in (Thornycroft)
270ft 6in (Yarrow)


26ft 8ft (Admiralty)
27ft 3in (Thornycroft)
24ft 7.5in (Yarrow)


Three 4in/ 45cal QF Mk IV
Two 1-pounder pom pom
One 2-pounder pom pom
Four 21-in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

30 December 1914


1 May 1915


July 1915


November 1921


British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War, Norman Friedman. A very detailed look at the design of British destroyers from their earliest roots as torpedo boat destroyers, though the First World War and up to the start of the Second World War, supported by vast numbers of plans and well chosen photographs [read full review]
cover cover cover

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 July 2023), HMS Mons (1915) ,

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